Friday 23 July 2010

Media Quotes of the Week: From death knocking to why journalists don't like Piers Morgan

Chris Wheal on his blog tells what it's like to be on the receiving end of death knocking by the media: "My nine-year-old nephew Jamie Bray died in a tragic accident last week, getting caught in a rope swing in his garden, breaking his neck in the fall and ending up hung by the rope. Since then I have had to deal with the press. Being a journalist on the receiving end of journalism is an eye-opener. And the first thing I have noticed is just how good the local press is and how lazy the nationals are."

Chris Morley posts on Chris Wheal's blog about death knocking: "My experience was that very often families were appreciative that the local paper was showing respect in coming down personally. It was especially poorer families that actually welcomed me in on a death knock as it was a way of giving meaning to the grief and informing others of what had happened in a responsible and articulate way."

Lawrence Shaw, also on Chris Wheal's blog: "It is a sick part of our trade that a death knock is seen as some kind of test for trainee and junior reporters to prove themselves. It is seen as a badge of honour to go and intrude on families grief, with warm congratulations given to any journalist who comes back to the office with good quotes and a picture. Failure was not an option for my old news editors – if you didn’t get anything, you were sent back until you did – or risked a shouting down for not being “good enough” at your job."

Alexander Lebedev in the Sunday Times Magazine: "My dream is to set up a foundation to finance journalistic investigations into international corruption. The free media can change the world. My idea is for some of the biggest titles around the world to pool resources to uncover the schemes and money flows used to sustain massive corruption. The results would be presented to the G8. That would force governments to act. We need transparency and accountability."

Daily Mail md Guy Zitter interviewed in InPublishing magazine is confident about the future of national newspapers: "Fortunately my readers, because of modern health care, are living to at least 100 so it should be fine."

The Independent on the freeing of Conrad Black: "The bigger question is whether this will turn out like the Hundred Days of Black's hero Napoleon – a lively but brief campaign before the inevitable and final end. Or will it mark the beginning of an incredible resurrection, another remarkable chapter in an extraordinary career? Black will doubtless find encouragement in the words of the French emperor that "impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools". For the rest of us, the drama continues."

Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten: "Not very long ago, the typical American newsroom had three types of jobs: reporter, editor and photographer. But lately, as newspapers have been frantically converting themselves into high-tech, 24-hour online operations, things are more complicated. Every few days at The Washington Post, staffers get a notice like this: "Please welcome Dylan Feldman-Suarez, who will be joining the fact-integration team as a multiplatform idea triage specialist, reporting to the deputy director of word-flow management and video branding strategy. Dylan comes to us from the social media utilization division of Sikorsky Helicopters."

Dominic Lawson in the Sunday Times on why some journalists don't like Piers Morgan: "There is, I suspect, another — unspoken — reason for Morgan’s unpopularity among his erstwhile peers. We journalists are, on the whole, people who feel more comfortable in dismantling, from a safe distance, the reputations of others in public life than in competing directly for the nation’s affections. So when someone takes that leap out of our own ranks — Boris Johnson is another who springs to mind — we tend to hope it will end in tears. Any success on their part is just a further rebuke to our own absence of adventure."

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